Harry S. Truman Strike Group MED 18 Deployment
Harry S Truman Battle Group
CVN-75 Harry S. Truman
"HST" / "The Buck Stops Here"
Nearly 6,500 Sailors of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) departed Norfolk the morning of April 11, for a regularly-scheduled deployment. Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Gene Black, include flagship USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), commanded by Capt. Nick Dienna; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1; guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60); and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron Two Eight (DESRON 28), including USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS Farragut (DDG 99). Guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are slated to deploy from their homeports and rejoin the strike group at a future date.
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. John Perrone, embarked on Truman include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 "Red Rippers;" VFA-211 "Checkmates;" VFA-81 "Sunliners;" VFA-136 "Knighthawks;" Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 "Rooks;" Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 "Seahawks;" Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72 "Proud Warriors;" Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11 "Dragon Slayers;" and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides."
While deployed, the strike group will operate in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts alongside allies and partners. The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to provide crisis response capability and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
While the Navy said it was a routine deployment, its timing raised concerns amid statements from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom that a “forceful” response is necessary against Syria following alleged chemical weapons use. It remained unclear what the “forceful” response will be, but U.S. President Trump said on Monday that a “major decision” would be made within 48 hours. “No response is off the table,” Trump said. “We have a lot of options militarily.” US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said to the UN Security Council that “Russia's obstructionism will not continue to hold us hostage when we are confronted with an attack like this one … either way, the United States will respond.” The Sachsen-class German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) also operated as part of the strike group during the first half of the deployment. Two coalition naval vessels arrived at Norfolk naval base Jan. 26 and 28, to conduct training and operations as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG). The Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F 311) and the Sachsen-class German frigate Hessen (F 221) arrived to participate in the strike group's upcoming Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) took another step in its pre-deployment work-up cycle by commencing the composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) 01 February 2018. COMPTUEX is an intensive, month-long exercise designed to fully integrate units of HST CSG, while testing the strike group's ability as a whole to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea. Ships, squadrons and staffs will be tested across every core warfare area within their mission sets through a variety of simulated and live events, including air warfare, strait transits, and responses to surface and subsurface contacts and electronic attacks. Completing these assessments effectively certifies Truman as a deployment-ready fighting force capable of commencing missions overseas.
"COMPTUEX tests our ability to combine all units and capabilities within the strike group into a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force that can perform sustained combat operations at sea," said Rear Adm. Gene Black, HST CSG commander. "Performing this critical evolution now, before deployment, allows our strike group to find out its strengths, but more importantly to pin-point where we can better integrate as a team."
During the exercise, trainers, mentors and assessors from Carrier Strike Group 4, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command formation charged with training and mentoring Atlantic Fleet Carrier Strike Groups, Amphibious Ready Groups, and independently deploying surface ships for deployment, will embark with participating units to provide training through carefully planned, realistic scenarios. "More than anything, COMPTUEX gets us into the right state of mind," said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Horstead. "The things we do are essential. It prepares us for a variety of scenarios we may encounter on deployment. COMPTUEX is the symbolic battle between our adversaries and coalition forces."
Strike group elements participating in COMPTUEX include USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and embarked Carrier Air Wing One; staffs from Carrier Strike Group 8 and Destroyer Squadron 28, guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60); guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farrragut (DDG 99), USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F 311) and the Sachsen-class German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221). COMPTUEX is the final stage of pre-deployment workups for the strike group. For USS Harry S. Truman, the evolution capped off more than seven months of training to ensure the ship and crew are ready to deploy.
Harry S. Truman and its strike force have entered the Mediterranean almost a week after Washington fired 105 missiles into Syria, US European Command (EURCOM) said in a press release on 19 April 2017. “The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) entered the US Sixth Fleet area of operations April 18, 2018 as part of a routine deployment in support of NATO allies, European and African partner nations, coalition partners, and US … security interests in Europe and Africa,” the release said.
The strike force consists of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Truman, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Normandy and the four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers Farragut, Forrest Sherman, Bulkeley and Arleigh Burke, the release added. "We are thrilled to have the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group here in the US Sixth Fleet … as we conduct the full spectrum of maritime operations to include working alongside our NATO allies and regional partners,” Fleet commander Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti said in the release. The Sachsen-class German frigate Hessen is also operating as part of the strike group during the initial portion of the deployment. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers Jason Dunham and The Sullivans are planned to rejoin the strike group at a later date, the release said.
The news followed the US, UK and French missile strikes that were carried out on a number of targets in Syria on Saturday in response to the alleged chemical attack in Duma on April 7. The attack was launched just ahead of the OPCW's inspection of the site. Western states have blamed the Syrian government forces for the purported incident, but Damascus has denied using chemical weapons.
A US naval strike force led by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman began sorties on 03 May 2018 against Islamic State in Syria, continuing missions by a US-led coalition against the militants.The force joined the US Sixth Fleet on April 18, nearly a week after the United States, Britain and France launched air strikes targeting what Western powers said were Syrian chemical weapons installations. The Navy said it was a scheduled deployment to support coalition partners.
Nearly 6,500 Sailors from the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) returned to Naval Station Norfolk 16 December 2018 following an eight-month deployment. Select ships from the strike group, including flagship USS Harry S. Truman, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and Destroyer Squadron Two Eight (DESRON 28) guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), were welcomed by friends and family after completing operations in the U.S. Second, Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of operation.
“The opportunity to perform the full spectrum of naval missions across every imaginable maritime environment during our deployment proved to our allies and potential adversaries alike what we already knew: that the American Sailor will always rise to the operational challenge in front of them,” said Commander of Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, Rear Admiral Gene Black. “From combat operations over Syria, to cooperative exercises and engagements with NATO allies and partners, to taking on the unpredictable conditions above the Arctic Circle, these Sailors rose to the challenges of this historic deployment with honor, courage, and commitment.”
HSTCSG deployed April 11 for a regularly scheduled deployment as part of the ongoing rotation of forward deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operate in international waters across the globe. Several strike group units returned to Norfolk in July 21 for a working port visit, until Aug. 28, when they departed to continue their deployment. The strike group’s ships and aircraft conducted a variety of missions, including forward naval presence, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation. The strike group also participated in numerous bi-lateral and multi-lateral engagements, including Lightning Handshake 2018, Baltic Operations 2018 and Trident Juncture 2018; as well as operations alongside Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Egypt and Norway.
“I’m incredibly proud of the men and women of Harry S Truman,” said USS Harry S. Truman’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Nick Dienna. “The performance of the Truman team over the last eight months, from supporting combat operations over Syria to operating in the unforgiving environment of the Arctic Circle, was nothing short of outstanding. This deployment showcased the phenomenal ability of these Sailors to perform at the highest level anywhere, any time.”
Along with operating across the Mediterranean, strike group ships crossed the Arctic Circle Oct. 19 and conducted sustained operations in the Norwegian Sea – the first carrier strike group to do so in nearly 30 years. For several days, the strike group also operated alongside Royal Norwegian Navy ships in the Vestfjorden, a sea area inside Norwegian territorial waters.
In addition to supporting partnership efforts during the deployment, embarked aircraft from Carrier Air Wing ONE (CVW-1) launched sorties into Iraq and Syria in May and June in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, totaling 393 combat sorties over 2,808 hours.
Embarked squadrons of CVW-1, commanded by Capt. John Perrone, returned to home stations across the U.S., including Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, NAS Whidbey Island, NAS Jacksonville, NAS Lemoore and Naval Station Norfolk. These include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 “Red Rippers”; VFA-211 “Checkmates”; VFA-81 “Sunliners”; VFA-136 “Knighthawks”; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 “Rooks”; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 “Seahawks”; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72 “Proud Warriors”; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11 “Dragon Slayers”; and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.”
DESRON 28 destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Farragut (DDG 99) remained in the European region during the strike group's working port visit of July and August, performing maritime security and theater anti-submarine warfare operations and exercises in the North Atlantic and Arctic, earning Farragut Sailors the Arctic Service Ribbon. Both ships returned to their homeports in November. USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) deployed from their respective homeports in June, and will return at a later date, following their deployments to U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleets, where they have performed theater security cooperative engagements and maritime security operations alongside partners and allies.
Upon its return to the European Region in September, the strike group’s sustained operations above the Arctic Circle were the first for an aircraft carrier in more than two decades. Strike group ships and aircraft then participated in the NATO-led exercise Trident Juncture 2018 which involved personnel, ships and aircraft from every NATO member nation as well as partners Finland and Sweden. During Trident Juncture, the strike group operated alongside Royal Norwegian Navy ships in the Vestfjorden, a sea area inside Norwegian territorial waters.
Trident Juncture was NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War with participation of 50,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, and more than 250 aircraft, 65 ships, and 10,000 vehicles from 31 participating allied and partner nations.
Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations 11 December 2019, after more than three months of theater security cooperation and maritime security operations in the Arctic Ocean, and Norwegian, Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. Harry S. Truman CSG units departing the region include the flagship Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 28; USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
The strike group’s presence in European waters was the execution of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ Dynamic Force Employment (DFE) concept. The CSG’s deployment began in April and became highly unpredictable when the carrier and a few of its strike group ships remained in the Mediterranean Sea instead of transiting to the Middle East as expected, and then returned to its homeport in Norfolk in July after completing three months of combat operations and cooperative exercises and engagements with NATO allies and partners in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic.
Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, noted how the Harry S. Truman CSG’s deployment supported Department of Defense DFE initiatives and addressed a return to great power competition. “The National Defense Strategy makes clear that we must be operationally unpredictable to our long-term strategic adversaries, while upholding our commitments to our allies and partners,” said Foggo.
“That’s what we've done with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. The operations the strike group conducted across the region alongside our allies and partners – and withstanding a variety of austere environmental conditions in the High North – showcase our inherent flexibility, and prove that there are no international waters off limits to our forces, and nothing limiting their ability to support our allies, anywhere or at any time.”
Over the course of seven months in the region, the Harry S. Truman CSG conducted numerous bilateral and multilateral operations alongside allied and partner navies, to include forces from France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom. In the spring, the strike group participated in exercise Baltic Operations from the Adriatic Sea — the first cross-continent support to the exercise from an aircraft carrier — and exercise Lightning Handshake with Morocco.
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